Committing to Equity in a Time of Crisis

The National Wildlife Federation’s 2020 Equity & Justice Strategic Plan

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, we are seeing how inequities play out in our world. The pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on low-income communities of color–the same communities that face more frequent and more severe environmental impacts and injustices.

To build healthy environments for wildlife and communities means building them for everyone. Inclusion is a core tenet of the National Wildlife Federation’s mission in “uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world.” But our work to do this is becoming harder and harder because our country is growing further apart at the very moment we must work closely together. 

The environmental movement as a whole has not done enough to bring people from all backgrounds together. In particular, conservation organizations have oftentimes struggled to invite communities of color to the table as equal partners. For example, the demographics of the National Wildlife Federation staff does not reflect the diversity of the cities and towns that the organization engages through education, gardening, and advocacy programming. 

We know we will be most successful when we are able to bring people together across difference. When people are disconnected from one another—whether through historic injustices, racism, or lack of resources to live full lives—healthy communities and healthy habitats cannot reach their potential. Only by overcoming these barriers and biases by confronting them head-on will we be able to fully engage in wildlife protection with one another. Only by coming together across difference will we be able to meaningfully and effectively achieve our conservation goals.

Ensuring Equity at National Wildlife Federation

In order to accomplish this, the National Wildlife Federation has developed—and committed to implementing—our 2020 NWF Equity and Justice Strategic Plan. Our plan is focused on building the skills we need in order to form authentic partnerships and relationships. In order to  engage with a greater diversity of communities, the Federation will ensure staff are trained with the skills to build meaningful partnerships across difference. 

Our strategy will support staff members in having the knowledge, awareness and skills to work alongside and in partnership with marginalized communities as they determine what healthy environments look like in their own context. Using these expanded skills, the Federation will be better able to achieve its mission by learning how to learn from and elevate the leadership of marginalized communities and value their vital contributions. From there, we can truly be on the path to supporting healthy environments to the benefit of all, and not only a select few.

Looking Inward

We are also focused on the organization’s internal culture. If we embed equity and justice into our organizational policies, practices, and programs, the National Wildlife Federation will be a place that welcomes, hires, retains, and celebrates people from all backgrounds and walks of life, truly living up to our core values and achieving our mission. By attracting talented people from a variety of backgrounds who are excited to be a part of the Federation, we will be more strategic, effective, wide-reaching, and powerful than we have ever been before, living up to our ideal of being a big tent organization. Only by achieving true diversity and working effectively across differences can we change, grow, and learn to become a 21st century wildlife organization, ensuring people and wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Commitments to Justice

The National Wildlife Federation is committed to becoming an organization that actively assesses our work through a lens of systemic racism. Doing so will enable the organization to uplift and empower communities of color. Our equity work is not extra–it is front and center to everything that we do, and how we live and breathe as staff members and as an organization.

Our Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the pandemic continues, the spread of the virus is exposing deep and persistent inequities along racial and socioeconomic lines. Historically, the environmental movement as a whole has failed to prioritize these communities and these safety nets. Now, more than ever, we encourage you to support our work to help wildlife thrive and towards creating a just and equitable future for everyone.

How You Can Help

As you abide by social distancing guidelines, now is a great time to read and reflect. Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s ongoing equity and justice work and partnerships today:

The Fight to Protect Clean Water: Stopping Water Shutoffs

Black Officials Steward Community Solutions to Environmental Injustices

New Bill Helps to Provide Water Access During Pandemic

Tree Equity in Broward County